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THE MOST POPULAR CAMBODIAN FOOD

Fish amok

Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodiandishes, but you'll find similar meals in neighboring countries.The addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor, separates the Cambodian version from the pack.Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.

Khmer red curry

Less spicy than the curries of neighboring Thailand,Khmer red curry is similarly coconut-milk-based but without the overpowering chili. The dish features beef, chicken or fish, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.This delicious dish is usually served at special occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or Ancestor's Day, where Cambodians make the dish to share with monks in honor of the departed.Khmer red curry is usually served with bread -- a remnant of the French influence on Cambodia.

Lap Khmer: Lime-marinated Khmer beef salad

Khmer beef salad features thinly sliced beef that is either quickly seared or "cooked" ceviche-style by marinating with lime juice.Dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper, the sweet and salty dish also packs a punch in the heul (spicy) department with copious amounts of fresh red chilis.A refreshing dish that is more beef than salad, lap Khmer is popular with Cambodian men, who prefer the beef to be nearly raw -- but at restaurants it's generally served grilled.

Nom banh chok: Khmer noodles

Nom banh chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it's called simply "Khmer noodles."Nom banh chok is a typical breakfast food, and you'll find it sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.The dish consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime.Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that's usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding festivities.

Cha houy teuk -- jelly dessert

After school in Phnom Penh, young people crowd around street stands serving Khmer desserts for 1,000 riel, about US$0.25.Some have sticky rice or sago drenched in coconut milk and topped with taro, red beans, pumpkin and jackfruit.One of the most refreshing is cha houy teuk, a sweet jelly dessert made with agar agar, a gelatin that is derived from seaweed.The jelly can be brightly colored in pinks and greens, making it especially popular with children.Combined with sago, bleached mung beans and coconut cream, cha houy teuk is usually served in a bowl with a scoop of shaved ice.

Ang dtray-meuk: grilled squid

In Cambodian seaside towns like Sihanoukville and Kep, you'll find seafood sellers carrying small charcoal-burning ovens on their shoulders, cooking the squid as they walk along the shore.The squid are brushed with either lime juice or fish sauce and then barbecued on wooden skewers and served with a popular Cambodian sauce, originally from Kampot, made from garlic, fresh chilies, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.The summer flavor of the shore can be had even in Phnom Penh, where many restaurants bring seafood from the coast to make similar versions of this dish.

 

 

 

 

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